Bayern delivered another fantastic performance against Schalke 04 in the DFB-Pokal. Coach Hansi Flick’s Bayern Munich has now won nine of their last ten games and has kept a clean sheet in their last three. Today was another standard Bayern Munich performance under Flick, featuring high-pressing, ample possession, and offensive creativity. Here are BFW’s observations from today’s DFB-Pokal quarter-final triumph:
1. No center-backs, no problem
Bayern played Joshua Kimmich and David Alaba as center-backs in today’s win, two players who had limited experience in the position before this season. It looked like it could become a problem in the first twenty minutes: both players’ positioning was dubious when Schalke was on the counter. Nevertheless, Kimmich and Alaba both grew into the game and were vital to Bayern’s victory. Comfortable on the ball, both players moved it with ease, enabling Bayern to establish an extremely high defensive line. Linking up the defense and the two holding midfielders Corentin Tolisso and Thiago, while also trying to lob the ball past Schalke’s extremely deep defensive line, both Kimmich and Alaba deserve high praise for their performance.
2. A Guardiola-esque performance
Bayern ended the game with 80% possession, a statistic that is higher even than the normal dominance under Flick. Today, the defensive line established by Kimmich and Alaba was incredibly high. Yes, Schalke played extremely defensive throughout the entire game, yet for large parts of the game both sets of players, apart from Manuel Neuer, were on Schalke’s part of the pitch. The last time I’ve seen such a one-sided division of play was when Pep Guardiola was on the Bayern sidelines.
3. Kimmich has cemented his role in the middle of the park
Even if another player had scored Bayern’s goal, the undisputed man of the match would still be Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich. His movement, calmness on the ball, and creative ability to distribute the ball anywhere on the pitch is nothing short of world-class. Even though Kimmich played as a center-back today, he acted like Bayern’s regista. Today should mark the end of the debate over whether Kimmich’s talents are best suited to central midfield or right-back.
Kimmich had a rather incredible game this evening:— UtdArena. (@utdarena) March 3, 2020
95% passing accuracy
14/18 long balls
2 key passes
2/3 duels won
1 big chance created
He played at centre back... pic.twitter.com/HdIYuqjw4e